Al-Marsad calls on the international community to ensure an effective peace process to end the ongoing war in Syria. For more than 5 years, Syria has been suffering a terrible conflict that has caused death, destruction, gross international law violations in a seemingly endless and indescribably cruel chaos.

As stated by the 2016 Report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, established by the Human Rights Council in 2011, “the conflict has devolved into a multi-sided proxy war steered from abroad by an intricate network of alliances”. The conflict involves pro-government forces and their allies (Hezbollah, Russia and militia groups from Iran); numerous independent anti-government groups (the Syrian national coalition, Kurds and their allies); and groups considered as terrorists (Al-Qaida affiliate Jabhat al Nusra – now Jabhat Fath al-Sham – and ISIS); as well as an international coalition. All groups control large parts of the country.

Continuous bombardment; intense street fighting; indiscriminate targeting of civilians, civilian objects and medical facilities; the use of human shields; torture; deliberate starvation; the use of illegal weapons; unlawful killings; unlawful deprivation of liberty; are some daily acts perpetrated by all warring parties and constitute grave breaches of International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law. Civilians, mainly women and children, are the most affected by these violations.

Intentional targeting of various national, ethnic, religious and social minorities is leading to the destruction of Syria’s mosaic. Its cities, towns and villages are devastated. Medical care and education are disappearing. The cultural heritage of the Syrian Arab Republic continues to be erased, publicly and with impunity.

As a consequence, 4.5 million Syrian men, women and children are confined to areas where humanitarian actors do not have regular access, while 6,7 million are internally displaced persons. The difficulty in providing necessary aid (food, water and medical care) is a serious issue and often forgotten by the warring parties. Simultaneously, spillover effects, including border insecurity and the outflow of refugees (4,9 million), have spread in the Middle-East and Europe.

However, the unanimous adoption by the UN Security Council of resolution 2254 (2015) on 18 December gives hope to a peaceful solution to the war. This process to end the armed conflict and transition towards peace must bring accountability. Crimes against humanity and war crimes must not remain unpunished.

Therefore:

Al-Marsad calls for the continuation of the peace process in good faith from all parties to the conflict.

Al-Marsad seeks that perpetrators of flagrant violations of International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law answer be brought to justice and be held accountable for their acts.

Al-Marsad demands that the international community ensures that the obligation to facilitate humanitarian access is fulfilled by the warring parties. Humanitarian bridges and corridors must be implemented to ensure that regular access to necessary humanitarian aid is given to the innumerable victims of the conflict.

 

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Al-Marsad is an independent, not-for-profit, legal human rights organisation – it is the only human rights organisation operating in the Occupied Syrian Golan.
For additional information, please contact marsad@golan-marsad.org.